15 reasons to feel great about being a publicist
PR executives have made it into the list of the 10 most stressful jobs in America for the past three years. It’s a profession that can break people.
Still, if you are motivated, can check your ego at the door, possess strong attention to detail, and can multitask better than a plate spinner, it can be infinitely rewarding.
Here’s why it’s cool to be a publicist:
1. We preserve people’s stories in a lasting way. People may lose material objects, but articles live online, in scrapbooks, and on Mom’s Facebook page. We make that happen.
2. We are the rainmakers. We move the economy, getting people to spend by creating excitement about our clients and getting the public to buy stuff. That creates jobs and bolsters commerce.
3. We’re the ever-patient go-betweens. We are the intermediaries who manage the personalities of press and client. We deal with the churlish reporter and the narcissistic celebrity, and neither ever knows the other’s difficult nature; that’s our gratifying little secret.
4. What other job lets you know what’s going to happen in advance, and usually before the press even knows? If you’re an exceedingly curious person, PR is for you. Publicists usually have the scoop on breaking news.
5. The job title has cachet. Clients love to say, “Meet my publicist.” There’s intrinsic value in the sentence.
6. How about those benefits? You might handle the PR for a large law firm, but it comes in handy to know the trade when volunteering your PR expertise for a local homeless shelter, your kids’ school, or your church. You look and feel like a superstar.
7. We have superpowers, but like Superman, we use them responsibly. “Don’t make me wield my social media knife, neighborhood dry cleaner. I’m a publicist.”
8. We can’t turn their brains off, and that’s a good thing. Publicists look at the world in a creative way. We’re identifying trends that have a link to our clients, looking at new communication channels to disseminate information, and identifying different ways to present information that will excite the public. A topsy-turvy Willie Wonka way of perceiving life keeps publicists young.
9. We are good conversationalists. Working in PR, you always have the best “insider” stories of how things sometimes did not quite transpire the way that you’d expected—though often better, and sometimes worse. You’ll be a hit at your cousin’s wedding table recounting your best moments.
10. The side effects. They may include attending gala press openings, meeting childhood heroes, business trips to swank destinations, and a lot of freebie promotional items.
11. We’ll never forget the first time our article or photo ended up in The New York Times.Publicists must be strong writers, and sometimes you hit the jackpot and a media outlet posts your press release verbatim.
12. There is no better feeling than introducing something wonderful to the world. Your clients become your “babies.” You nurture them, introduce them to the public, and watch them grow. Publicists are like parents in that way.
13. We can multitask and problem-solve like nobody’s business. You can figure out what to do in a pinch and always know whom to call (and sometimes you’re on more than one phone at a time). You’re skilled at talking, typing, and texting simultaneously.
14. We aren’t afraid to take risks. Big ideas often mean more press. You have to have an element of fearlessness and a lot of inspiration to “make it work.”
15. No day is ever the same. Repetition is boring. At a PR firm, every day is full of surprises.
By Noreen Heron and Kate Hughes
Noreen Heron is president at Noreen Heron & Associates, Inc., where Kate Hughes works as a senior account executive. Based in Chicago, the full-service agency primarily handles hospitality, entertainment, and restaurant clients. Follow it on Twitter @heronpr. A version of this story first appeared on the agency’s blog.